Everything – truly everything – in life happens for a reason. We may not see that reason at the time but it’s there…..

If I have learned anything over the past 30 years it is to try to stop planning out my life. To stop trying to figure out where I am going or what I should or shouldn’t do. I’m along for the ride, wherever it may take me.

Not long after Boston Marathon I got an email from a local runner who had read my blog post about my race.

The email shocked me for many reasons. One of which was that I looked up to this woman. She was fast, not what I consider my fast, but fast as in I can only dream of running her marathon pace one day. She also seemed like the type of woman who had to all together. I wanted to be friends with her but never thought it would happen.

I think I judged her from a distance and thought….she couldn’t be fast and nice right? She was one of those girls who had been running her whole life and was probably stuck up and didn’t want to have anything to do with little ‘ol slow me….or so I thought.

I didn’t know her so it was unfair to judge but whether we admit it or not we ALL do it in some form. I think it was my fear of rejection. That high school feeling of wanting a girl to like you and wanting to be friends with her and knowing inside that she doesn’t even know you exist. It’s silly really. Why do we as women judge each other? Why do we see girls/women we don’t know and want to be friends with them? Why do we care so much what others think? Why is there that knee jerk reaction to think a girl acts too good, or has it all? Why do we dislike someone we think would never like us?

I didn’t dislike her – that’s not what I am saying – what I am saying is that I didn’t know thing one about her except for that she was a rock star runner and I wanted to be as fast as her and so I thought we would never be friends. If I saw her at a local race or the local running store I wouldn’t even look her way. I didn’t want to want to be friends with her and be rejected. [does that even make sense? I don’t know]

SO back to the email. I got it and literally did not write back for months. What would I say to her? I had a fear that if I wrote her back and if we started talking – we wouldn’t become friends. I put up a wall sometimes to protect my heart. I’ve been burned in too many friendships, one too many times, so it’s hard for me to open my heart up to someone new. I’m not the type of person who has a million and one friends, I don’t even have many people that I just consider acquaintances. I like to be all in. If you are my friend I REALLY care about you. I really devote my heart to believing in you, to wanting what’s best for you – it’s a great way to live and a painful way to live if the friendship fizzles.

Maybe this is how you are? Maybe not. We are all different and I love that.

When I did finally email her back I found she was completely different than I thought. So sweet. So supportive. So humble. So nice. So friendly. Need I go on?

This weekend I finally embraced my fear of running with her.

Why would someone who literally came seconds away from qualifying for the Trials want to run with *slower* me? I can’t keep up. What would she think? Would this be the only time she wanted to run with me?

After much introspection lately I decided what was the worst that could happen? A bad run? I couldn’t keep up? She doesn’t want to run with me anymore? Oh well….worth a try – right?

18 miles later with her and another dear friend and I felt renewed. I kept up [though I know she slowed for us] and I had fun. I felt strong, which is something I haven’t exactly been feeling a lot lately.

  • Mile 1: 8:27
  • Mile 2: 8:17
  • Mile 3: 8:09
  • Mile 4: 8:04
  • Mile 5: 8:18
  • Mile 6: 7:49
  • Mile 7: 7:51
  • Mile 8: 7:58
  • Mile 9: 7:54
  • Mile 10: 8:05
  • Mile 11: 7:35
  • Mile 12: 7:59
  • Mile 13: 7:50
  • Mile 14: 8:01
  • Mile 15: 8:14
  • Mile 16: 7:21
  • Mile 17: 7:20
  • Mile 18: 7:17

This feeling spilled over into my Monday run.

Chloe asked if she could ride in the middle of the stroller. In my head I freaked – Colton always is in the middle. He started there because he was the baby but now I assumed that the weight distribution was better with the lighter of the three in the middle. Triple stroller runs are already impossible enough – I did’t want to make it harder than it already is.

Something inside of me reminded me that I am now embracing fear…..so instead of fearing an even harder run – I told myself – you will rock this run – you will do this and you can do this.

  • Mile 1: 9:35
  • Mile 2: 9:34
  • Mile 3: 9:29
  • Mile 4: 7:30
  • Mile 5: 7:01
  • Mile 6: 6:45

6 miles later I again felt renewed. I can do this. I can train for marathons. I can be a good mom. I can keep this house going – despite my doubts on all three accounts.

I’ve been wanting to get up at o’dark thirty and run for more than a year now, but could never bring myself to get up alone and run at an hour that makes my stomach sick just thinking about it.

Through chatting with my *new speedy runner friend* I learned that her husband, who shares the name as my husband, also leaves for work beyond early and so she gets up at an INSANE hour and runs. If she could do it I could do it – right?

So I ordered a headlamp and set my alarm for an insane hour…..and I hit snooze every single morning. The darkness outside seemed harder than the triple stroller.

I couldn’t do it. I wanted to, but couldn’t.

So this friend said she would drive to my house and meet me.

This scared me. I knew that I had to embrace my fear because the only way I was going to get up and run was if I knew she was in my driveway.

This morning she helped me FIND MY STRONG. 7 speedy miles done before hubby needed to leave for work. 7 miles before most people even wake up.

  • Mile 1: 7:51
  • Mile 2: 7:24
  • Mile 3: 7:24
  • Mile 4: 7:14
  • Mile 5: 7:10
  • Mile 6: 7:24
  • Mile 7: 7:08

I sit here now on my front porch in an awesome new adirondack chair hubby bought us. I’m listening to the rain, the bugs, the birds chirping. I am watching the sun rise before my little people get up.

Today I know I will be a happy mom because I ran. Today I feel strong. Today I feel that I can kick the words of self doubt out of my head.

I’m excited for them to wake up. For us to not have to spend all morning getting ready for a run [if you have little kids and stroller run you KNOW what I am talking about]. I am excited for them to color at the table rather than in the stroller. I’m just plain excited for the promise this day holds.

There are days, weeks, months I want to stop blogging. GASP. Yep I said it. I love sharing myself and I hate sharing myself. One of my biggest fears is the fear of being judged. Judged by people I know and judged by people I don’t know.

Today reminded me WHY I pour myself out…..I know that the girl I ran with today is going to become a life long friend. I can feel it. If I had a rock star race at Boston she may have never written me. It was through falling, through a terrible race – that I met her. I will forever be thankful for all that this blog has brought into my life – good and bad – because sometimes the bad happens for a reason even if we don’t see it at the exact moment.



  1. I am the same way and could very much relate to this post. I do not have a large group of friends, but the ones I do have I give my all to. I also put up a wall to protect myself and this goes back to when I was raped as a teen. It is a part of myself I accept and let people know about when they meet me. I tell people so they can understand they may need to be patient with me, but if they are they will gain a good friendship. You did the right thing pushing past your fear and getting to know your new friend. I am glad you loved your early morning run. I am an early morning runner during the summer when the kids are home. I do it so that I can get my miles in before my husband heads to work. On long run days that can mean getting up at 3:30 am to stretch good and get out the door, but it is worth it to take in that morning cool air and quiet time.

  2. I can understand protecting yourself- I make friends like you do- “I’m an all in type of gal” and it hurts deeply when someone burns you. Sadly- I used to give all and now I hold back because I’ve been burned too- but I’m glad you’ve been able to put those fears aside for a chance to meet her.

  3. I love this. Great post. Very inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  4. I love how open and honest you are and can totally relate to being afraid of putting it all out there. I just told my husband last week that I feel like there are only 5 people who really know me because I don’t let many people in. Crazy, I know! Thanks for the encouragement to be brave!

    Awesome and inspiring running as always. I love running in the dark with friends or by myself. I think it helps me order my day and really pray!

  5. I can relate to so much of what you expressed in this post! Thanks for sharing Dorothy and just keep being you!

  6. Running in the dark is definitely a mental battle. It’s getting even harder now that the sun is rising later and later in the morning! Earlier this summer it was somewhat light out at 5am and now it’s not getting lighter until 5:45ish. Those 45 minutes of darkness are scary and I know it’s going to get even darker by time October rolls around!

    I’m jaw-dropping, inspired by our splits for your 18 mile run. I can’t even comprehend those times!

  7. Such a great post! I am happy for you to have gotten over the fear. I am so afraid of the water, but would love to do a tri some day. Need to work on overcoming getting into the water. Thank you for sharing this, I will have to bookmark it and refer back to it.

  8. Women that are faster than me really intimidate me too. Maybe that is why I would rather run by myself? There is an all female running group where I live, but I won’t run with them because I get so intimidated by the faster runners. I don’t want to be the slow person!

  9. I always enjoy reading your blog posts and relate to so much of what you write (though I’m a significantly slower runner than you!). I also am cautious in relationships and when I was younger (maybe still…I dunno) people often mistook me for stuck-up when I was really just insecure & painfully shy. I’ve been running for about 4 & 1/2 years and always wanted to be an early morning runner but never took that first leap outta bed until a few weeks ago. With 4 kiddos & summer break (not to mention horrendous heat & humidity-we recently moved to Cincinnati) I knew I’d not be able to run the pace or distance I’d want with 2 kids in the jogger & 2 on their bikes. I started getting up to run before my husband had to leave for work. It took me maybe 2 days to realize that I LOVE that morning routine! I LOVE getting out to run while the stars are still visible & my corner of the world is just barely starting to wake up. I LOVE getting in a 6 or 8 mile run, a shower & cup of coffee before my kiddos wake up and need my undivided attention! It gives me energy for the rest of the day & it makes me a happier person (& hopefully a better mom). Your running is inspiring! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I would feel the same way about running with you. 😉 I know what you mean about feeling intimidated and reverting back to high school. I also know how I feel when a new runner tells me she can’t run with me because I am too fast. I don’t mind slowing down again if it means meeting a new runner friend.

    School starts next week, so I have to be home from my runs much earlier to get the kids ready. This means getting up at o-dark thirty. I haven’t really done this by myself and I will embrace the fear.

    Thanks for the post.

  11. You, my friend, are simply beautiful! I love seeing you work through your fears and self-doubt for all of us to see. So brave. Such growth and peace coming from this post. Thanks for writing. You know, I can relate in so many ways to the fear part. And don’t stop blogging! These kinds of posts are the work that helps us continue to grow and find our best selves. My blog has helped me sort through so much the last couple of years. My husband leaves really early too and I don’t get up to train…so early but I tried this morning. Instead I will treadmill it while my kids play around me. But I can so relate to what you said about the kids coloring on the table and not in the stroller. You’re an awesome mother Dorothy…an amazing runner, daughter, sister, mother, and friend…this I’m certain….believe it! So glad you found this friend…Now I’m so so curious who it is…someone in blog land? :) You deserve each other. I do believe everything happens for a reason and I believe in the power of relationships and how they shape our lives….these people that come into our life and shape us in some way…such a beautiful thing. Still super bummed to have no Dorothy in my van but I totally get it! Happy Tuesday!

  12. I didn’t realize until reading this post and the comments that follow, that fear is at the heart of my running alone. I live in a small community with no organized running club and though I do run with my husband occasionally, I do run alone a lot. There are so many things in life that can keep me up and get me down- when you live passionately, it has great rewards and great sadness. I don’t want running, the thing I love, to become something that makes me feel bad about myself. When i race in events, i always plan my times to do better than a time prior, but rarely put all my eggs into the PR basket. What if i don’t accomplish my goal? Some can use these things as further motivation and determination, but I get down on myself. I really appreciate your honesty in this matter Dorothy as well as those who left comments. I need to somehow overcome the negativity that comes on myself when I feel I don’t measure up.

  13. You’re so darn amazing, Dorothy! When I tell stories about you, cause I do, I say “this girl I know on Twitter, we’re like Twitter friends…”! It’s so powerful (in a touching way) to read about other people’s insecurities, realizing that women we see as superheros are, alas, just like us. We all share worries, and concerns and question ourselves and our place. I LOVE to plan things out. Sometimes it’s about dreaming, sometimes it’s about control. But I realize, that the best moments happen when not every detail is planned, when some moments are just allowed to fall into place. Thanks, as always, for blogging, sharing and being so real with us, your readers and your wannabe friends 😉

  14. When I started my job 7 months ago, I heard there were lots of runners amongst us. I was excited to hear that and quickly discovered them. One was right in my office area – on my floor even. Then I looked her up on marathonguide.com. Whoa. She was a good 30 mins faster than my fastest marathon! When she mentioned, “We should run at lunch sometime”, I had a similar reaction as you. But I packed a bag and took a deep breath. Of course, I did the silly qualifier, “I’ll try not to slow you down too much…”

    The result? She was fast. Super fast. But you know what? She helped make me faster. And she, like most of us, just wanted to run with someone and be able to chat (I got there eventually – in between the gasps!). Interestingly, we found we had a couple of really big things in common. Go figure!

  15. I just began running during the scary early hours of the morning a couple weeks ago to beat the heat and to open up my evenings for Crossfit. At first I actually had to wear my running clothes to bed or it just wouldn’t happen. I still prefer (and my body still prefers) to run after work, but it will get better (or so I tell myself).

    Keep up the good work! I can’t imagine what it is like to run with triple stroller. I have a hard enough time with my hound dog.

  16. It is easy to run alone. There isn’t anyone to judge you. No one to push you or hold you back. I don’t know if I do it out of circumstance or fear. Your post will definately make me think about the reasons I don’t try harder to run with the groups in my new area. Maybe it is a bit out of fear of not being “good” enough.

    congrats on not giving in to fear. You are inspiring!

  17. What a great post Dorothy! I can totally relate. I think so many young women do this (get intimidated by other fast runners, judge when we don’t mean to) and you write of overcoming that “fear” and enjoying the positive results of a wonderful friendship- how inspiring. I knew a girl who was a DI runner at my work, but I was always to afraid to run with her. When I finally took the chance, I was so delighted that she just enjoyed running with someone too at crazy hours and we soon became fast friends. Going out of your comfort zone often times makes you a better, happier person in the long run. I too, am afraid to open myself up to new people, after being burned by others, especially in the DC area where people seem to already have “groups.” Your blog has reminded me that if you don’t take the risk, you’ll never know what you might be missing out of on. Great splits on your run too by the way. This will motivate me on my (vacation) runs out in Oregon later this month- Track Town USA here I come! :)

  18. What a beautiful post, Dorothy! Can definitely do a run through in my head of things I have refrained from doing because of fear. Can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am right now with my running if it weren’t for my other half of Life is a Run. Totally applaud you for stepping out of that comfort zone and going on a run w/her. Not only did you get a new friend from how your Boston race went, but you also pushed yourself beyond the limit!! Those are big time, lady!

  19. Denise C. says:

    Great post Dorothy! I embraced my fear last Thursday, and sent you a message through Facebook. You have inspired me so much as a runner and as a Mom. :) I love early morning runs, I am up and out of my house at 4 am everyday. The darkness, the peacefulness, the simplicity….and I get to be the first one in the shower when I return home! :) Happy Running!

  20. Thank you for sharing! I can relate, although for me it isn’t relationships but my career – when I’m unhappy, I’m afraid of asking for what I want. I simply move on to another company. Last week, I went looking for a way to make my work more interesting without leaving. We’ll see how that goes. :) But if I hadn’t tackled my fear, I’ll never know if I can have what I want. (Fear of rejection – what if my company doesn’t value me after all?)

  21. Katie @ msfitrunner says:

    I was so excited to see a new post from you! I’m so excited by everything you wrote – life is amazing and what an awesome thing to embrace all of those fears. There is nothing like getting the run out of the way early and having the WHOLE day with the kids. I need to face my fear of running in the dark, especially once summer comes to an end – its already getting light out later and getting hard to get the miles in just because I don’t want to run in the dark. You ROCKED that triple stroller run. You are strong. even when you have weak feeling days. You are a mom to 3 beautiful children, who runs and loves them and no matter how weak you feel. It takes a lot of strength to do what you do everyday, and share it on the blog. Thanks for everything you wrote!!:)

  22. OMG-totally sounds like me, I have a hard time embracing new friends or even meeting new people due to rejection, I have had way too may friends turn on me just because. I never get closure because the just stop talking to me all together. I give my all into my friendships and my heart. I totally understand where you are coming from!

    Now running at crazy hours, I do, I get up 4:40am to go running just because with my work schedule and getting the kids where they need to be, this is the only time I can put in for myself. Lately with work being so crazy and busy, I have been self doubting myself on my runs, my mind and heart is just not in it, I feel like I am running to run and I shouldn’t feel this way at all. Work causes my stress and I wish it didn’t but it does, gives me anxiety.

    I am so happy you embraced a new friend and your fear. You totally rock!!!

  23. Please don’t stop blogging! I just discovered you, and you have already been a huge inspiration in my life. I experience a lot of anxiety before meeting new people (not a great trait to have as a military wife being that I am constantly put in that situation) and seeing you overcome your anxieties really pushes me to get out there and do the same. Plus, when I feel poopy pushing my one kid while running, I think of you running so fast pushing THREE and it makes me work harder!

  24. Sounds like you had a wonderful day (and past couple days). I dying to know who this speedy runner is, I probably want her to be my friend too :) Dorothy – you amaze me all the time. I hope I’m as dedicated as you when I’m a mom. Enjoy your running high! xo

  25. This is an awesome post.
    I feel the exact same way: intimidated, not good enough, etc. But I’ve learned in the past few years that the running community, in general, is made up of kind and supportive people.
    There will always be someone faster, stronger, “better” than us and I’m not sure why we assume they’ll shun us (the slower runners) when that’s not what we would do to runners slower than us.
    I’m glad you enjoyed your early morning run. The wee hours is the only time I get to run around here. :)

  26. I met my best friend online, in a very similar way to your story – except that she contacted me first after seeing my art on Etsy. She asked me to get together and share some tips about starting to sell your art online, which I felt totally unqualified to supply (!), but we met for coffee, and realized that we were the same age, had a ton of interests in common, and lived two miles from each other. Over three years later, I’ll be joining her at the starting line of her first half marathon in less than two weeks. The internet can bring us the best things!

  27. Thank you so much for sharing this Dorothy! I get super intimidated to run with others (my averages are in the 10’s) and I know some SPEEDY people. I’ve made some really great friends through embracing the fear and this post has encouraged me to keep being brave 😉

  28. Thanks so much for writing this. I have been training for a half marathon recently and have been struggling getting in enough runs. As a single mom of three, it is often run with them or don’t run at all. For me, this means a lot of not running at all. Getting it all together and out the door is so difficult! I read this post first thing this morning, and decided to embrace the fear. And, I had an amazing run pushing a little over 100 lbs almost 4.5 miles. While nowhere close to your time or distance, it was a record for me. Thanks so much for always posting times and encouragement. If I hadn’t seen this today, I never would’ve kicked myself into gear and run. You are amazing!!! :)

  29. Beautiful post and I think all women have more in common that we realize. I too have a very small circle of friends. It is a trust thing with me….or an insane fear of abandonment. But the friends I do have are very dear to me and mean the world to me.

    Great job tackling some of your fears!

  30. What an amazing post, and thank-you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration! It’s funny, because I’m sure a lot of people think of you the same way you thought of your new friend (you are the fast one!). You are showing your children how to be strong and brave through these small choices you make everyday. Go girl!

  31. I live in a place where I just hadn’t had any luck finding a running partner but I’m sure I would feel similar feelings trying to establish a relationship. Running relationships are very difficult! I have thought before, “why doesn’t she run before her husband goes to work?” My hubby leaves early too and the days I get the run in before he leaves go so much more smoothly…it’s hard though!

  32. I too have set my alarm early to run…not even that early (7am)! Today was another day that I rolled over and turned it off. Tomorrow I am planning to do 8 miles…EARLY…aka by 8 am. I am determined to get the h out of bed and JUST DO IT!…reading your post tonight totally helped…thank you!

  33. Jenni Ortman says:

    Awesome! And I look at you like you look at your new friend. :) awesome job, you Rock and are very inspiring which is one of the many reasons I follow you. #findyourstrong

  34. Wow…you always inspire me. Love love love your blog so don’t quit now! Lol! I just signed up for my first full marathon!

  35. Great post… you are truly an inspiration.

  36. You are amazing! I too could have written this post – so glad your new friend has been so helpful/encouraging. It’s also a great example to all of us – who are those folks that may be struggling with their running that we can reach out to and encourage. Love your blog!!

  37. I can see you feeling this way. I often assume the fastest runners are in their own elite clique and don’t care about slow people like me…but the ones I’ve met in my running group are just like me! They love running and love encouraging others to run as well.

  38. OMG, that’s one of the reasons I run alone and not in a group! But I will for the first time run with a group of women this week at the crack of dawn (lord help me!)….hey, i’m embracing my fears!


  1. […] a whole plan for today but I’m going to direct ya’ll over to Mile Posts instead because Tuesday Dorothy posted one of the best posts on fear and it really hit home for me. Share […]

  2. […] she could tell I was “holding back.”  My cousin Dorothy apparently has had to face the same fear, and had learn to embrace it with a similar […]

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